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LANZONA, Eduardo "Taking" Estrella

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In the 1960s, a red Jaguar would streak around Davao City, and all city residents knew the driver was that charming boy “Taking,” because who else had a red Jaguar anywhere? Taking was Eduardo Lanzona, who belonged to a very prominent family in the city.

Taking completed his economics course at the Ateneo de Davao, took further studies at the Ateneo de Manila University which he completed in 1969, then went back to teach economics at his alma mater.

In 1969, he married his college sweetheart.

He was always smiling, always had something nice to say to a new acquaintance. And he loved to play the guitar and sing Beatles’ songs.

Taking started to take an interest in politics because of the influence of politicians and professors in Ateneo such as the senator Raul Manglapus, and Fr. Francisco Araneta. He was a voracious reader and the debater in him took delight engaging in philosophical and political discussions about Karl Marx or Mao Tse Tung.

In the early 1970s, student activists had started organizing in Southern Mindanao. He had become a member of Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan in Manila and due to his influence, the Ateneo de Davao campus became the hub of the student protest movement.

He was passionate about the farmers’ movement for land to the tiller and along with other concerned Ateneans, joined thousands of farmers in 1969 to ask for real land reform. The mass action was led by the Federation of Free Farmers.

He helped organize a union of college professors at Ateneo de Davao and a bank employees’ union at the Davao branch of the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

When martial law made it impossible for him to work openly, he resigned his post at the Ateneo faculty and joined the left underground movement in Davao, moving in and out of the city to meet his growing family. He was regarded by then as an important political leader in the underground, particularly in the united front organization.

He was arrested on Jan. 17, 1975, in Davao del Norte (now Compostela Valley), together with four other activists. They were tortured then executed.

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Today, some of the bank employees remember Taking, and give thanks to him because through the unions he organized, the workers enjoyed higher living standards and stronger bargaining power.

Friend and fellow activist Mac Tiu admired Taking because, while most activists were single and had few possessions, Taking was rich and had a family and yet chose to go underground to fight the dictatorship. Former comrade from the SDK, Juan A. Perez III, now a physician, points out that Taking Lanzona had been about to reach the height of his career but he chose to fight the dictatorship.

Historian Rudy Rodil said that activists (like Taking) are driven by “the consuming conviction that one was doing the right thing, the only right thing to do, and nothing else mattered.”

GALACE, Arthur Erfe

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The young Arthur was a bright and diligent young boy. The young Arthur used his spare hours after school to shine shoes and augment the family’s small income. He was a working student throughout most of his school years. In college, he worked as part time bookkeeper and government checker of moviehouses. He worked for ten years as a civilian employee at the Philippine Military Academy and for another five years as clerk at the auditor’s office in Baguio City.

Always hungry for knowledge, Arthur was a voracious book-reader. As a student, he spent hard-earned money to buy pocket books and read them between lessons and work hours. He read Shakespeare and the Bible. He pored through at least three newspapers everyday until diabetes destroyed his eyesight.

He took the bar in 1976 when he was 34 years old, and got the third highest grade that year.

Knowing poverty first-hand, Arthur often gave free or minimal legal services to poor clients. Destitute clients trooped to his office, his wife Nida recalled. Arthur began to offer his services to victims of the Marcos dictatorship not long after he passed the bar. He became one of the most active members of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) in Baguio City. Later he served as FLAG coordinator for the Benguet province and regional chairperson for Northern Luzon. He was counsel for nearly all political detainees in Northern Luzon, including many student activists, tribal leaders, farmers, and two fellow lawyers who struggled against the Marcos dictatorship in the province of Abra. He handled the defense of students and activists jailed for rebellion, and prosecuted cases filed by members of rural communities against abusive soldiers.

He also was active with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), becoming president of the local chapter and executive director of its legal aid committee from 1983 to 1985. During his incumbency the legal aid committee won a national award for being a model legal aid program in the Philippines.

He was member of the Lawyers’ Committee for International Human Rights, based in New York, USA.

Arthur and fellow rights advocates established the Northern Luzon Human Rights Organization (NL-HRO) in 1984. Arthur became its chair. He helped organize other human rights groups throughout Northern Luzon.

Arthur was appointed deputy commissioner of the Presidential Committee on Human Rights (PCHR) under the late Senator Jose W. Diokno. His stint in government was short-lived because members of the commission resigned in protest over continuing military abuses.

To use the new democratic space, Arthur started a column titled “The Occasional Chair” for the local newspaper Gold Ore. He used this space mostly as a forum to raise awareness about human rights and the human rights violations that were still happening in Northern Luzon. In 1988, he took up the case of farmers massacred by soldiers in Nueva Vizcaya. He testified in 1989 before the Senate Committee on Human Rights about government abuses persisting in Northern Luzon despite the lifting of martial law.

Arthur believed that friends, not money, made a person rich. “Why look for material wealth”, he would say, “if one had enough friends?” Arthur treated many of his clients as friends, and had been known to offer temporary lodgings to clients, including former political prisoners, or families of clients, or even give some of them transportation money.

In 1991, disaster fell on Arthur and his family when the big earthquake that damaged many parts of Luzon wrecked his house and thieves stole the rest. Suddenly Arthur was poor as a rat, but he remained undaunted. “We will survive this,” he told his wife. Arthur’s friends proved their worth on that occasion because many came to help his family deal with the disaster.

In the 1990s, Arthur had to fight a war on another front as he fell ill with diabetes. “We will fight this,” he told his wife once more. He did fight the disease until the end of 1993, when he died quietly in his bed the day after Christmas.

Relatives, neighbors, colleagues from the Knights of Columbus, and friends in the human rights movements all gave tribute to this man’s humanity and his commitment to human rights. He was alternately described as bright, witty, having phenomenal memory, a sharp-tongued lawyer, a sweet husband and a loving father, and a person who gave himself way beyond the call of duty.

FERNANDEZ, Jesus Flor

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Three sisters preceded Jesus, so that when his devoutly Catholic mother became pregnant again, she vowed that, if she had a son this time, she would name him after Jesus Christ. The family resided in San Carlos City, Pangasinan.

Jesus was born with one blind eye due to congenital cataract. His mother, who tended to be over-protective because of his disability, made herself his first-grade teacher. But in his young as well as adult life, Jesus never let this disability stop him. Jesus also kept changing the name he was born with.

Jesus, or Jess to friends, joined the Student Alliance for Nationalist Democracy (STAND) in 1971 when he was only a third-year high school student.

In college, his organizations included the Alpha Sigma fraternity and the Political Science Club, where he pursued his own brand of activism. In particular, he grappled with the problem of fraternity wars and sought to direct the fraternities’ energies into more positive expressions, such as social activism. He became a popular activist leader in the Diliman campus of UP.

After martial law was declared in 1972, activism became more difficult. Jess and his activist friends, undaunted by the martial law edicts prohibiting associations and gathering in groups, as well as by the proliferation of spies in campus, secretly went about organizing student opposition to martial law. Jess became a key figure in building the anti-martial law forces at UP from 1972 to 1976. Soon, the campus was alive with activities pushing for student rights and welfare.

After graduation from college, Jess had the option to take up law as his father wanted, or find a cushioned job using his family and fraternity connections, and his own personal attributes and good education.

Instead, Jess pursued clandestine organizing against martial law. Now known in the underground circles as Ka Tembong, Jess frequented Manila’s university belt. He also enroled in a graduate program at the University of the East to facilitate his entry into what was then the university with the largest student population.

By 1977, the university belt was noisy with student protests and boycott calls against tuition fee increases, a feat that can partly be attributed to Jess’ organizing skills. Then Jess and his comrades dared to defy martial law and moved to launch open protest rallies. Jess acted as the central command in one held in front of the Adamson University and another at the Avenida Rizal. As expected, the rallies were dispersed with truncheons and water cannons.

But the students and student leaders who participated in these rallies learned from the experience and became seasoned protesters. These protest actions that Jess helped organize can be said to have helped break the terror effect of martial law among Metro Manila’s student population. Moreover, as these students graduated and spread across the country, many later became participants and even leaders in the widespread anti-Marcos protests that were sparked by the assassination of the late senator Benigno Aquino.

The following year, 1978, the Marcos regime called for “interim” parliamentary elections. Jess by then has shifted to organizing among the urban poor of Tondo. He had become Ka Nol among the members of the Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO). By way of testing the waters, progressive groups fielded several candidates, including politicians Ninoy Aquino, Aquilino Pimentel, and Tito Guingona, community leader Trinidad Herrera, student leader Gerardo Barrican, and labor leader Alex Boncayao.

Jess was part of the core group that coordinated and directed this electoral campaign. They called on the people to vote for the anti-martial law candidates, and to act boldly to protect their ballots. When the Marcos regime rigged the elections, massive protests erupted, culminating in a historic noise barrage on April 6, 1978.

After the electoral campaign and the ensuing protests, Jess and his comrades dove back into the quiet work of building anti-martial law opposition among Metro Manila residents. They clandestinely distributed opposition newsletters, carried on discussions in the privacy of residences, built core groups, searched for new contacts, and so on.

In 1981, with the visit of Pope Paul II to Manila, massive protests were planned in order to highlight the repressive conditions under martial law. Jess was selected coordinator and ground commander of highly successful protest actions, including one around the Quezon City Memorial Circle.

After Ninoy Aquino was assassinated in 1983, rage against martial law rose to higher and higher levels. This time, Jess, now called Ka Les in his circles, was given the task of directing the student movement nationwide. As a result of his leadership, thousands of students from various schools in Metro Manila joined the almost weekly mobilizations against martial law for the next three years. In many occasions, students actually formed the bulk of the mobilizations, again a quiet testament to Jess’ planning and organizing skills.

After martial law was dismantled in 1986, Jess stayed in the underground for a few more years. By the mid-1990s, Jess decided to test the broader “democratic space” and surfaced. At first he found work as consultant to various local leaders and executives, including Governor Oscar Orbos of Pangasinan.  In 1998, he joined the staff of Senator Gregorio Honasan as a senior member. He stayed with the senator’s team up to 2004, then moved to support the presidential bid of Fernando Poe Jr. Later he helped launch the United Opposition and became active in the Kilusang Makabayang Ekonomista.

Jess was diagnosed with lung cancer in January 2007. He died from complications arising from the disease four months later. During his wake and after, friends wrote of him and sent in their tribute.

Writer Noel Pangilinan recalled an occasion when in fun, friends threw their Ka Nol into the deep-end of a swimming pool. It turned out that Jess couldn’t swim and had to be towed in. But his worried friends couldn’t help but laugh and hoot when Jess, rising from the gutter, coughing and hair and face dripping, said offhandedly: “Ang babaw!”

Political and economic analyst Filomeno Santa Ana said that Jess’ life fits the song from the Sound of Music: “Climb every mountain, search high and low, follow every byway, every path you know, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.”

Jess used many names in his life. But he lived that life much like his great namesake, working for the poor and helping establish peace and justice in the world, climbing every mountain, and in the process, touching many lives.

CHUA, William Tiu

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William’s parents were Chinese who migrated to the Philippines in the early 1950s in search of better opportunities. They struggled to eke out a living in Manila but remained poor. Life got so difficult, William’s father left to try his luck in Butuan City. There he put up a restaurant, and found business better. He sent money and visited his family occasionally. Eventually William’s mother Songo also started her own business. When family finances were more secure, Songo moved her young sons to Quezon City and put them in the private Xavier School.

William was a quiet and unexceptional teenager, quite short for his age. He was a college sophomore when Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law. He became an activist, revealing previously unseen gifts and skills.

He turned out to be an exceptionally daring person. He joined rallies and protests which Marcos had banned under martial law. In one occasion, soldiers hunted for him in La Salle, and he had to hide in the car trunk of one of the more understanding teachers so he could leave the campus.

He was also resourceful. Soldiers came to raid his family’s apartment house looking for him and threatened the family if they did not reveal his whereabouts. William asked help from a school friend, who was a general’s son, and suddenly, he was not being hunted anymore.

In his senior year, he became editor of the campus paper The La Sallian, and he showed a keen writing ability.

He moved to the University of the Philippines to pursue his law degree, joining the fraternity Scintilla Juris. He continued to write critical articles, contributing them to Nassa News, a church newsletter that had become one of the most valued outlets for views and news about the anti-martial law resistance. The stories about the sufferings of sugar workers in Negros province made a huge impact on him. He began to see the role he could play as a lawyer for poor people. Among his idols were the late senator Jose W. Diokno.

He married his college sweetheart Betty, then graduated in 1983, the year the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr. was killed. As he started his law practice, William joined the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity, Nationalism, Inc. (MABINI) and immediately started representing laborers and human rights victims in court.

He helped publish a satirical newsletter called Sick of the Times, whose biting essays and editorial cartoons made fun of the dictatorship and its abuses. One of the most memorable articles in the newsletter is a satire on an ailing president. The article was titled “Autumn of the Patriarch,” taken from another article written by Colombian writer and journalist, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The newsletter was witty, funny, irreverent, defiant, and with a funny sense of the absurd, so much like William himself.

William pursued his bias for laborers, defending workers of Shoemart in Makati in a strike (although he counted a son of the SM owner Henry Sy as one of his school friends). He handled a case for workers of Baxter-Travenol, and won it before the Supreme Court.

After the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, William turned his attention to exposing and prosecuting corruption and crime. He served as legal counsel for the nongovernment Citizens’ Action Against Crime, taking up mostly pro bono cases of kidnap victims. He prosecuted 20 kidnap-for-ransom cases, many high-profile and dangerous. He prepared for these cases so purposely he won convictions in all cases.

He also offered his legal services to the Foundation for Worldwide People Power, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, and the Pinoy Times. He helped Haydee Yorac, then with the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), expose questionable issues about the coconut levy under martial law. He also assisted Yorac in government efforts for peace talks with armed groups.

He handled right to information cases, such as the Aquino-Sarmiento vs Morato et al, and freedom of expression cases, such as the Gonzales vs Kalaw-Katigbak et al. One of his best-known cases was in 1992, when as counsel for then Congressman Joker Arroyo he exposed a syndicate in Congress manipulating election results. This led to the dismissal of several electoral tribunal officials in the House.



He was awarded the Jose Rizal Award for Excellence in 2003 given out by the Manila Times and the Filipino Chinese community and posthumously received  the Parangal Lingkod Sambayanan (Public Service Award) given by the Ateneo de Manila University in 2005.

At the time of his death, William was managing partner of Arroyo Chua Caedo and Coronel Law Offices. He had a very wide circle of friends coming from the left, right and center of the political spectrum, who mostly admired his talent, his guts, his commitment, and his integrity. Writer Sheila Coronel said William showed that lawyering was “about justice and compassion.”

William battled with pancreatic cancer and died in hospital in 2004.

Old friends noted that William grew much taller than his old classmates over time. He had become, quite unlike his teenage image, a big man, with a big voice, and big gestures. It was more than William’s physical self that had expanded. He gave as much of himself to others as he could, and in so doing, just grew and grew.  A former classmate from La Salle had written about him after his death: “(William) kept on growing even after most of us had stopped.”

BUENO, David Triunfante

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The eldest of seven children, David was his parents’ pride and joy. He was smart and bright, and brought home many awards from school and from his many extracurricular activities such as the boy scouts. An outstanding boy scout, he and his brother Excel were sent to Japan as delegates to the Boy Scout’s World Jamboree.

He wanted to become a lawyer but he took up medicine, which was what his father wanted for him. Before completing his medical degree, he revealed to his parents he wanted to become a lawyer instead and got their agreement to shift careers.

David had many sides to his personality. He was a Bible reader and a Marian adherent, but not a church-goer. He was a fratman (of Sigma Beta Tau), and a defender of civil rights. He was a Catholic but he joined the Protestant Lawyers’ League of the Philippines after he passed the bar.

He became involved in defending human rights towards the final years of the Marcos dictatorship. As a human rights lawyer, he defended several political prisoners and tribal Yapayao farmers.

In the politically turbulent years that followed the assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., David was an active campaigner for justice and the restoration of democracy. He joined protest marches and protest runs, even as he continued to offer his legal expertise to activists and community organizers.



Many of his cases were pro bono. In fact, he sometimes gave fare money to his clients’ families to enable them to visit in prison. At the height of military operations in far off towns in his province (Dumalneg, Piddig  and Vintar), David actually took in some barrio people and sent some of the children to school.

An offer was made for David to serve in the Aquino government but he declined, preferring to pursue his lawyering and defending victims of government abuses. He organized the Ilocos Norte-Laoag City Human Rights Organization and became its legal consultant and later its chairman. Ilocos Norte remained the bailiwick of Marcos loyalists and rebel soldiers and military atrocities continued to be perpetrated in the province.

David protested the abuses and denounced the military operations in the municipality of Dumalneg. He voiced these criticisms publicly in a radio program on human rights at Bombo Radyo Laoag.

In one occasion, he successfully negotiated for the release of several persons seized by the New People’s Army, including two Korean engineers and former Ilocos Norte board member Florencio Sales.



David was assassinated in October 1987. Two men in fatigue uniforms and riding a motorcycle came up to him as he stood in front of his law office and shot him in the heart. The immediate suspects were police and the military, but as expected they denied involvement. Witnesses who saw the killing were afraid to testify. Youth leader Lean Alejandro had already been killed, and rumors spread that more activists and human rights advocates would be assassinated. Indeed after Bueno, labor lawyer Rolando Olalia and Olalia’s driver were themselves assassinated.

The Protestant Lawyers’ League of the Philippines (PLLP) described Bueno as a “staunch human rights lawyer and a conscientious worker for peace and justice.” The PLLP asked that the Aquino government create an independent body to investigate the murder and to immediately arrest his killers.

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, in its PHRU issue dated Jan 15-Feb 14, 1988, said the series of killings were part of a government campaign to subdue a nationwide protest movement and to eliminate resistance, including peaceful and non-violent ones.

The case has never prospered.

David and his girlfriend Cynthia had plans to get married when David was killed. Long after his death, David’s family would be approached by people they barely knew thanking them for David. “He fought for us,” they said.

ACEBEDO, Roy Lorenzo Hermoso

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Roy Acebedo’s family history was one of riches to rags. His father Norberto once owned a trucking business which folded up, forcing the latter to find work at Marcelo Steel Corp. However, he lost this job when he helped organize a strike at the company. At that point, Norberto left his wife and four children with his in-laws in Manila to try his luck in his home province of Leyte.

As eldest among his siblings, Roy took his new responsibilities seriously. He was delivering newspapers by the time he was in second grade, suffering the wet and cold of rainy days. His grandfather Chimo Hermoso gave him a piece of advice, saying that if he wanted to help his family, he should study hard so he could land a good job. It was this advice that guided Roy’s schooling years, and pushed him to achieve high grades in school.

As brother and friend, Roy was caring and loving. He and his siblings did their lessons together, with Roy patiently helping the younger ones. He entertained them with stories from school. Friends trooped to the Hermoso house for a game of checkers or for help with schoolwork, especially math, which was Roy’s favorite subject.

Roy’s other hobby was carving, making wooden toys and painting them for his younger siblings. Roy was polite with the elders, kissing his grandparent’s hands, and stayed away from vices like smoking or drinking, and had never been known to get into fights or even say swear words.

Activism, for Roy, was an extension of his humanity. In college, he helped form a group of teachers and students in engineering and the sciences which they called Pambansang Samahan ng Inhinyeria at Agham. This group pushed for reform in the schools and for improved facilities. Roy was once very angry with school officials at PLM for spending huge amounts on curtains while the school laboratories lacked test tubes. He became a member of the PLM Student Council.

He became active in the important events of the early 1970s including the First Quarter Storm, the Diliman Commune, and many protest actions before and after President Ferdinand Marcos suspended the right of the writ of habeas corpus in 1971. He gained a name as that formidable student leader from PLM.

Roy left school to avoid arrest when Marcos declared martial law in 1972. He found work as a laborer at the Marcelo Steel Corporation in Sta. Ana, Manila. He became a member of KASAMA, a workers’ group.

In July, 1973, the military raided the family house in Sta. Ana, looking for Roy’s brother Nolito, who was also an activist. Not finding him, they proceeded to the steel factory and arrested Roy. They also put his mother Andrea under house arrest.

Roy was taken to Camp Crame, where he suffered torture for several days. He was beaten up and subjected to water cure and electrocution of his genitals. When Roy was finally shown to his mother he could hardly stand and was spitting and urinating blood. Roy was kept at the Ipil Rehabilitation Center in Fort Bonifacio for 8 months.

After his release in May 1974, Roy found work at the Connel Brothers in Makati. In the succeeding months, he was messenger, checker and then distributor of canned goods.

In February of 1975, Roy and his brother Nolito left for Mindanao to work fulltime as peasant organizers in the anti-martial law resistance. He did it, Roy said, “… para may maiambag ako sa pagpapalaya ng sambayanan.”

Roy lived only a few months in Mindanao. Unfamiliar with the territory, Roy depended on local contacts, and was easily detected by the military and the local militia and paramilitary troops. The military raided one of the meetings Roy was in and in the chase that followed, Roy and a comrade were captured. Roy had stopped to help this comrade who stumbled.

The local people who witnessed what happened later said that the two comrades were brought to a cemetery, ordered to dig, and then killed. Roy was severely tortured. Before they were buried, the soldiers paraded the corpses around the community.

Roy’s family did not learn of his fate until years later. For decades, they regarded him as a desaparecido of the martial law government. Roy’s name is still included at FIND’s Bantayog ng mga Desaparecidos / Flame of Courage Monument at the Redemptorist Church grounds in Baclaran. He was only 24 years old when he died. His remains have not been recovered.

Justice for Ninoy! Justice for All!



After the assassination of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. a well known mural which portrayed the faces of Aquino, Macliing Dulag, Dr. Johnny Escandor, and Edgar Jopson bore the slogan “Justice for Ninoy, justice for All.” Another mural was Fight for the People’s Right to Know done by the late socially-committed artist Emmanuel Gutierrez. Many murals have been done by fine arts graduates in mass organizations from the Marcos regime up to the present. Often commissioned by nongovernment organizations, the murals are done collectively by a group, such as Artista ng Bayan (ABAY), although a senior artist supervises it and gives it the finishing touches.

Tanada Letter to Marcos on the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (1979)



In June 20, 1979, Lorenzo M. Tanada wrote a letter to President Ferdinand Marcos urging the latter to suspend the construction of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. Below is a copy of the letter.



Triumph Over Marcos




Triumph Over Marcos by Thomas Churchill is a book about the lives of Gene Viernes and Silme Domingo, two Filipino American Cannery Union organizers who were assassinated. Below is an excerpt of the book.

A copy is available at the Bantayog Library.








Board Committees

Alfonso T. Yuchengco
Head, Executive Committee


Thelma M. Arceo
Head, Research & Documentation Committee


Alan T. Ortiz
Head, Buildings & Grounds Committee


Carolina S. Malay
Head, Museum Committee


Delilah V. Magtolis
Head, Legal Committee


Solomon Y. Yuyitung & Edicio dela Torre
Publicity & Printing Committee


Board of Trustees

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